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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui killed in Afghanistan clashes

Reuters India chief photographer Danish Siddiqui was killed on Friday while reporting about clashes in Afghanistan’s Kandahar city, the news agency said.

Siddiqui’s death led to an outpouring of grief on Twitter. Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India Farid Mamundzay tweeted: “Deeply disturbed by the sad news of the killing of a friend, Danish Siddiqi in Kandahar last night. The Indian journalist and winner of Pulitzer Prize was embedded with Afghan security forces. I met him 2 weeks ago before his departure to Kabul. Condolences to his family and Reuters.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist was covering the situation in Spin Boldak district when the incident took place, TOLOnews reported.

In a series of tweets on July 13, the Indian photojournalist had described his travel with Afghan Special Forces on its missions.

He said that the objective of the mission was to extract a wounded police officer, who was trapped by the Taliban on the outskirts of Kandahar city. The area, he pointed out, is contested between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban.

As the forces reached the extraction point, Siddiqui tweeted, that the Taliban used rocket-propelled grenades against the convoy, resulting in the destruction of three Humvees. One of the rockets hit the vehicle he was travelling in, but Siddiqui had said that he was safe.

“Gunners atop the Humvees swivelled wildly, aiming fire at suspected Taliban fighters who were hard to see,” he wrote.

Siddiqui was a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and the chief of Reuters Pictures multimedia team in India. He has covered many important events in Asia, Middle East and Europe, including the Rohingya refugees crisis – for which he received the Pulitzer along with two colleagues – the Hong Kong protests and living conditions of asylum seekers in Switzerland.

Siddiqui also covered the devastation caused by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Delhi. He had shot a photo essay in the non-profit Holy Family Hospital in the national Capital.

Besides Reuters, his work has been published by several magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, The Guardian, CNN and Al Jazeera.

Clashes between the Taliban and the government has intensified as the United States-led international forces have been withdrawing from the country. The Taliban have captured several districts and border crossings in the north and west.

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